July. When you open the door in the early morning, and you’re hit by a wall of humidity. July. When the windmill comes to a standstill and you hurry toward the next air-conditioned space. This is the time of year when submerging your arms in a warm vat full of churning curd doesn’t break a sweat. Turning up the room temperature to 80 degrees to ladle curd out of the vat feels downright temperate in comparison to the oppressive heat in the barns or the garden.
With the sweltering feel of an impending thunderstorm outside, today was the perfect day to make a batch of our raw milk pelota roja. The cut curd is slowly heated to 110 degrees while hand stirring constantly. Like a frog in pot of slowly boiling water, you don’t really notice the heat until you’re close to the final few degrees. I practiced my favorite stroke, the breaststroke, all the while imaging the whey as the Caribbean Sea.
Victory Cheese-Choose it OR lose it!
The Victory Cheese Movement is in full swing across the nation. Mongers and makers are teaming up to offer some of the best American artisan cheese around. We cheese makers appreciate all the support we’ve received so far, but we are not out of the proverbial woods yet.
While we are scheming collections for our next “Victory Cheese Box,” you can still get our Rick Bayless-All Illinois Box. The box features three Illinois farmstead cheeses (Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery chevre, Marcoot Jersey Creamery sharp cheddar and Ludwig Farmstead Creamery Kickapoo). You can add a “More Mexican Cooking Everyday” cookbook signed by Chef Rick Bayless himself! You can either pick up your box at the farm (please pre-order through our online store) on Saturdays, 1-4 pm OR you can have it shipped. We just got a new allotment of signed cookbooks, so grab one of these while they last.
Urbana’s Market at the Square-The Vibrancy of Summer is Upon Us!
This weekend, we’re debuting our first spring batch of “pelota roja.“ It’s the essence of spring milk preserved in time—sweet, sharp, slightly nutty with a hint of chile heat from the guajillo chile rub. Of course, you can also get our washed rind” beauty “Blushing Goat.” Rounds or Squares are washed with a culture-infused cocktail including Unity Vibration’s Bourbon-Peach Kombucha Beer. You can also take home one of our bloomy rind cheeses—they’re all back in the line-up; albeit very young. We have SOO much cheese this week, we’re hoping you all come out and buy lots.
The Urbana Market has modified it’s COVID-19 related restrictions starting this weekend. They still require social distancing, and all patrons and farmers must be wearing masks at all times. The main difference is that patrons will now be able to select their own produce. Our market stand practices will remain the same. We have a Square card reader set up for you to swipe your card for payment. If you bring cash, we will give you change (and sanitize our hands between transactions). Gelato pints are ONLY available through online farm store sales/farm pick up.
Here’s the cheese line up for this weekend:
Pelota Roja—raw milk “Manchego style” hard cheese with a guajillo chile-olive oil rub on the rind $7/wedge
Available in two sizes—rounds weighing approximately 7 oz. for $13 each; squares weighing approximately 8-9 oz. for $15 each
Fresh Chevre $8/each
--herbs de Provence
Seasonal chevre flavor of the week: Fresh chive and lemon zest! The chives have grown back in the herb garden, so why not make more of this delicious flavored chevre! $9/each
Angel Food-our little “crottin” style bloomies—$9/each
Little Bloom on the Prairie—our goat milk camembert $11/each
Black Goat: our ash-ripened bloomy; VERY YOUNG but tasty $10
Fleur du Prairie-bloomy rind cheese adorned with dried herbs and edible flowers; beautiful AND delicious $11/each-VERY YOUNG TOO
Goat Milk Feta—aged in whey brine, tangy with a creamy-crumbly texture PERFECT for salad season! $7 each
Other Opportunities to Purchase Our Products
If you’re not able to buy our cheeses in person, you can order online for shipping. We ship on Tuesdays and Wednesdays each week. There are also lots of retail establishments throughout central IL and the Chicagoland area that carry our cheeses.
Farm Open Hours and Offerings this Summer
If you can’t make it to the farmers’ market, no worries. You can order online by 10 AM Saturday for Farm Pick-Up between 1-4 pm. Gelato pints are available for farm pick up ONLY-limited flavors this week (Chocolate and Fresh Mint but we will be making more next week).
We will be open this Sunday afternoon, July 14th to visitors, with some restrictions. From 1-4 pm, you can peruse our farm store, enjoy a cup of gelato or a cheese board with wine/beer/other beverages under our pavilion, visit with the goats (no petting, just viewing) and just enjoy the rural outdoors. All visitors must wear masks and practice social distancing while visiting the farm. We’ll be featuring ALL OF OUR CHEESES for sale during open hours. Consider getting a simple cheese board with blushing goat, warm baguette and a Unity Vibration Peach-Bourbon Kombucha beer!!
A lot of folks are wondering about farm tours, events and dinners on the farm. We have decided to put those on hold for the next few months to keep everyone safe. We hope things will be better in the fall, and if so, we plan to schedule a couple of special cheese tastings and farm dinner events then. Regarding our orchard, most likely, there will not be enough fruit for u-pick this year, but you will be enjoying whatever fruit we get either through the farm store or in the forms of jam or gelato.